Transcript: GOP Rep. Buck McKeon calls Obama’s sequestration plan “irresponsible”

Transcribed & edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on sequestration at a press briefing on Feb. 6, 2013:

Yesterday, the President gave us a proposal that cuts defense spending once again. It has $500 billion in new taxes and also cuts in domestic spending.

It’s irresponsible, unacceptable. It leaves our troop and our economy unready to face the challenges of the future and the threats of today.

When I went to our steering committee to apply for this job, I explained to them the way I saw the job was to make sure that our troops – those that we send into harm’s way – would have everything they needed to carry out their missions and return home safely. Everything in the way of resources, training, leadership. These things are very important.

And I look at what’s happening with these cuts that we’ve seen the last couple of years and it’s just – as I said – irresponsible that the Commander-in-Chief, his main job should be the thing that I look at as my job – only he has in total. He should be looking out for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines that he sends into harm’s way. He should not send them with anything less than the total that they need.

And to be stepping up and continuing to cut – I visited with our op leaders and they have told me “We’ve gone past cutting the fat. We’re gone past cutting the meat. We’re into the bone.” And it is now where they’re going to have to cut will reduce the ability to train and equip these people properly and that’s going to start costing lives.

And it’s time for the President to face up to what the real responsibility is, what the real problem is and that’s to look at mandatory spending…

I’m happy to join with Sen. Inhofe, Sen. McCain, Sen. Ayotte – she’s been a leader in this effort. And we’re putting forward a bill that will give us some breathing room on the sequestration – that pays for all the sequestration for the rest of this year – 7 months. It gives us time to think about it – pays for it by having a reduction in the federal workforce over the next 10 years through attrition. So it’s as painless as possible to protect our troops.

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